Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Life and Times of the Sicilian Robin Hood

The Truth Behind the Massacre

But the mysteries surrounding the massacre at Portella della Ginestra remain.  Who sent the letter to Giuliano?  What were its contents?  Further, what was the role of the mafia in this unfortunate episode?  Was Giuliano set up by either the federal government, or by the mafia, so that once and for all the King of the Mountain, the Sicilian Robin Hood, could be discredited?  The testimony of some of those who were involved particularly Gaspare Pisciotta after Giuliano's death, suggested that somehow the entire affair was not the work of the bandit gang, but of darker political forces.

The results were mixed.  In the eyes of some, Giuliano was discredited, but others were convinced that the usually astute Giuliano had been deceived by some combination of mafia influences and federal government treachery.

Whatever the explanation, from this point forward, Giuliano had become a subject of controversy.